The Congress on Tuesday strongly opposed the proposal to allow business houses to get bank licences and said it will mobilise public opinion against this retrograde step. Addressing a joint press conference, senior Congress leaders P Chidambaram and Randeep Surjewala said the proposal is part of a deeper game plan to control the banking industry.
"The Congress party condemns the proposal and demands that the government unequivocally and forthwith declare that it has no intention of pursuing the proposal," Chidambaram said. The former finance minister said the Congress would approach various political parties and trade unions to oppose the move and build public opinion against it.
"We call upon all the people of India and all political parties and trade unions to join us in resolutely opposing the retrograde idea of allowing corporates and business houses to enter the banking sector and set up banks," he said. He said the proposal, if implemented, will completely reverse the enormous gains made in the last 50 years of retrieving the banking sector from the clutches of business houses.
Chidambaram said the idea is not mooted by the RBI and has the fingerprints of the Modi government written all over it. "It is not the RBI's idea. The RBI is being misused by the government to propose this idea. Just as the RBI did not propose demonetisation and the government used it to say so, the government is misusing the most venerable institution to push its agenda," he said.
Chidambaram said the Congress is of the view that the banks should remain as public sector and the move is aimed at weakening the public sector banks. "We know who will get the licences through this move. Only the politically connected corporate houses will get the bank licences," he alleged, saying the party would build public opinion against it. Surjewala said the Congress would talk to various other political parties to oppose the move in public interest.